Solutions for how to use gender-sensitive language

Gendered pronouns (he or she)

  • He/she; she/he; he or she; she or he; s/he

  • His/her; her/his; his or her; her or his.

  • Use the third person plural (‘they’).

  • Use gender-neutral pronouns, such as “ze”.

  • Rephrase to omit pronoun.

  • Replace with definite article (the) or indefinite article (a).

Information about gender and gendered nouns (“female lawyer”)

  • Do not provide irrelevant information about people’s gender.

  • Avoid using gendered nouns. Use gender-neutral descriptions instead (e.g. police officer).

  • Simply use the occupation title with no gender description.

Gendering inanimate objects

  • Use the pronoun ‘it’ to talk about inanimate objects.

Stereotypical images

  • Make sure that that the images you choose to use in communication materials do not reinforce gender stereotypes. Include a wide mix of people in different environments.

Invisibility or omission

  • Do not use ‘man’ or ‘he’ to refer to the experiences of all people.

  • Make clear that you are referring to men and women by naming each.

Subordination and trivialisation

  • Ensure that your language actively promotes gender equality by not trivialising or subordinating women.

  • When referring to women you should use the term Ms which does not denote marital status.

  • Always use the same naming conventions for men and women when referencing.

  • You should be aware of the word order of your phrases and make sure that you are not always putting the male version first.

  • Avoid patronising women using more innocuous terms.